By Bohdan Ratycz

Another highly successful Christmas Concert took place at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Manchester on Sunday. The Hall was full to capacity with standing room only - if you could find room to stand.

The audience was entertained by a programme centred on a winter and Christmas theme by the Association of Ukrainian Youth (CYM), Oberih, Plast, Orlyk, Ukrainian Saturday School and the Ukrainian Dancing School.

The VIP's in attendance included the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Manchester, Civic Mayor and Consort of Tameside, Mayor and Consort of Bury, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Gt. Manchester, three Councillors, a professor, representatives from the Scot’s Guards, the police, the Jewish Museum and local the Cheetham Hill Community. All were captivated by the boundless energy, enthusiasm and love of national traditions by the children dressed in national costume.

The Podillia dance ensemble of the Ukrainian Youth Association performed some excellent dances whilst the choir Freedom sang carols and children performed an old traditional Vertep.

Orlyk Dance Ensemble opened the concert with a candlelit procession singing the widely known carol ("A new Joy has come to pass" (‘Nova Radist Stala’). Later, the School of Dancing and Orlyk, performed a new dance around a snowman, which brought great applause from the audience. Not to be outdone, the youngest girl members of Podillia danced to the melody of Jingle Bells in a traditional style dance which brought tears to the eyes of parents and grandparents alike. The Saturday School provided short readings explaining Christmas and New Year traditions in Ukraine while the "Mirage" quartet of male vocalists performed to their expected high standard.

The concert was very competently compared by Oksanna Leshko and Bob Sopel.

The VIPs also had an opportunity to sample traditional Ukrainian foods - borsch, varenyky and holubsti... - during a reception held after the concert. This was also a wonderful opportunity for local Ukrainian community members to network with the VIPs and helps strengthen ties with influential members of the wider community.

One of the surprises of the evening was a verbal assurance of three further grants for the Ukrainian Cultural Centre and, additionally, one VIP volunteered to organise a Fundraising Concert in the future towards the costs of fixtures and fittings still required for the new Community Hall.

Meanwhile the hall was swiftly prepared for the Malanka (New Year's Eve) Dance.  Music was provided by the Black Sea Cossacks.

A big thank you to those who helped, participated or attended from all over the North West to celebrate Christmas as a Community. This was a great opportunity to showcase the positive side of AUGB to a wider audience.   

A thoroughly satisfying day, a record crowd who went away delighted, top performances from the artists, possibly three grants and a possible Fundraising Concert...

Just can’t wait for next year!


Ukrayinska Dumka


Great Britain The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain has many branches throughout the country. Select a branch below to find out more information.